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The Test
Stuff ‘N Nonsense 12-30-20

It happened — not only was I directly exposed to a family member who tested positive for coronavirus but I also shared a pie with said family member and soon after, I got the sniffles — so, it seemed prudent to get tested.

And when my daughter revealed she couldn’t smell the rancid manure paste spread all over the neighboring orchards that could choke a warthog with its stench, pure dread followed as I knew she had to be tested, too.

I always knew at some point during this nightmare pandemic, the odds were high that I’d have to get tested but I wasn’t looking forward to the process. However, when I knew my little drama queen would have to allow someone to stick a cotton swab up her nose and root around, I foresaw therapy in both our futures.

As a family we’ve always had to deal with Miss E’s sensory issues. In spite of intensive behavioral exercises, she still has little quirks that seem stamped in stone and once she digs her heels in, she won’t budge.

When she started Invisalign, we had to travel to the Bay Area for a special camera to take pictures of her teeth and jaw so they could create her trays because when they tried to make the trays using the goo, she freaked out and started crying hysterically.

We got used to making special, not covered by our initial purchase, trips to the Bay Area to another orthodontist when she needed new trays, chalking it up to the reality of having Miss E for a daughter.

I ordered blood typing kits for the family, thinking it would be fun to discover everyone’s blood type. In spite of watching everyone else do theirs without any mishap, Miss E refused because it required a tiny prick of her finger and she didn’t believe we had the qualifications necessary to do the finger stick.

We ended the night with: two A+, one B+, one AB+; one UNKNOWN.

Fast forward to the sinking realization I was going to have to convince this child to do the COVID test and I just didn’t know if I had the mental strength (or physical, in case I had to hold her down).

After a ridiculous amount of running around trying to find a way to get tested, we finally secured a testing date and location through Project Baseline.

Our testing date arrived and I spent the entire morning calming my anxiety-ridden, drama-llama child by appearing confident that it would be easy, over quickly, and likely, no big deal.

Privately, I was stressed but I had to put up a good front for the sake of my kid. If I showed even the slightest hint of apprehension, Miss E would disintegrate into a crying mess that would embarrass us both.

Our turn came and I went first. The nurse, clad head-to-toe in protective gear, stuck the long stick up my nose and I tried to ignore the intense burning as she scraped what felt like my brain (I know, I know, it doesn’t work like that) for the sake of my daughter who was watching me like a hawk. Seconds before I was ready to freak out and karate chop the poor nurse rooting around in my nasal cavity, she withdrew the swab and handed me a tissue for the sneeze that wanted to follow.

Eyes tearing, I looked at my daughter and proclaimed in a watery voice, “It’s not that bad,” right as the nurse started with her.

I tensed, expecting an immediate scene, but I was surprised by how calm my daughter was and how she shared after that it really wasn’t a big deal at all.

I was so relieved that it was over, we splurged on Chipotle and shared a laugh over how worried we’d been.

Turns out, we were both negative. Apparently, Miss E’s inability to smell the manure mix must have something to do with the fact that she thinks cow poop smells like chocolate. There might be some kind of genetic mumbo-jumbo happening because my son has always enjoyed the smell of skunks while most people are repulsed.

Now, as we go forward in this new COVID social scene, I’m reminded of a funny meme that is all too appropriate today. It went like this: I used to cough to cover a fart; now I fart to cover a cough.

Ahem. Pooot. Don’t mind me, I had beans for lunch.


Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide occasional columns.